Mehmed Bey Mosque

Located on Agias Sofias Avenue. The mausoleum of İsmail Bey, the landed proprietor of Serres, is located in the gardens and there is a fountain by Yusuf Muhlis Pasha, his son. The mosque is first mentioned in a royal edict on November 3, 1936 and in the Official Gazette, on November 7, 1936, Number: 492/A. It is registered under the bylaw of the Ministry of the Environment on February 10, 1984, Number ARH/B1/F37/57030/1272; and again registered under the bylaw of Official Gazette on March 2, 1984, number 112/B. It can be understood from the transcription of its Ottoman Turkish inscription that is found on the door that it was built by Mehmed Bey, son of the grand vizier Gedik Ahmed Pasha in 898 (1492-1493).

Mehmed Bey is the husband of the 2nd Sultan Bayezıd’s daughter Sultana Selçuk. Serres inhabitants call it the Aya Sofya Mosque. However, no churches are known to have been turned in to a mosque in Serres (Pennas, 1966, p.509). The mosque was made of carefully hewn stone in a reverse T plan (with soup kitchen). Its mihrab is built outward and is five sided. The external portico, divided into five areas was covered with a cross vault. The structure, its dome and both areas near it were covered with a cross vault. Its prayer hall had three levels of windows. The minaret is no longer standing.

Evliya Çelebi described the mall near the mosque as follows: “All of the structures, the domes, the madrasah, the school and the soup kitchen are all covered in lead. It is almost impossible to describe how light and spiritually refreshing this mosque is. It would take many many words to truthfully describe the beauty of the handwork in the many areas of the mosque. The only other mosque that could compare to this one is the Yahya Pasha Mosque in Üsküp (Skopje). But the gardens surrounding this mosque have no rival; they are as if covered in green velvet, with majestic tress and every possible type of bird flies around in this greenery. Thousands of the faithful can sit in the shade of the many trees and discuss things. The smell of the gardesn many Cypresses are intoxicating, and the mosque has become famous from Greece to Persia. Hile the yard of the Mehmed Pasha Mosque is full of green trees and birds it is also a place of religious and moral people. It is a mosque yard” (VII, 1966, p. 622).

The expenses of the Mehmed Pasha Mosque had been met by the incomes received from the properties of Ahmed Pasha that were located in Kırım for 291 years. However, these lands were no longer Ottoman properties as Kırım had been occupied by the Russian General Potemkin in 1783. After that time the mosque was neglected. The mosque located was very close to the river and was often exposed to the overflowing waters. It was repaired by Yusuf Bey on 29 B, 1230 (July 7, 1815). The lead required for such repairs was brought from İstanbul and this was requestedto be given uninterrupted passage. The river’s flow was redirected in 1892 and the mosque was saved from the sand and gravel of the river as a result of the efforts made by İbrahim Fevri, who was the Clerk of the District Council. After the Balkan Wars and the population exchange the mosque was abandoned to its fate (Pennas, 1966, pp. 511-512). The charitable foundation of the mosque, VGMA, is registered in the Atik Defter Nr: 725, p. 119, on 5 M, 1108 (August 4, 1696). The ruined mosque which is closed needs immediate restoration.

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